Friday, January 29, 2016

Less Efficiency, More Fun

One of the keys to living in an apartment, especially if one used to live in a larger house, is to make the most efficient use of one’s space. I have rationalised my storage of those things I wanted to keep but don’t often use. Closets are packed high and shelves are filled. I have just purchased a small rack of several hooks to hang on the bedroom door so that clothes into which I will be changing may be hung there instead of on the back of a chair.

But sometimes efficiency must be sacrificed to enjoyment. And yes, that refers to my efficiency and the cats’ enjoyment. The nylon tunnel has returned. Well, a new one has been brought out. When I bought the previous red-and-grey nylon tunnel, it was a good price and, unsure whether I would find another, I purchased a spare. Moving to the apartment was a good time to exchange them. The red-and-grey nylon tunnel was becoming rather ratty (catty?) with hundreds of punctures and dozens of tears. So after a couple of weeks of becoming accustomed to the new home, the cats received their new, blue-and-yellow nylon tunnel.

As I expected, it has proved popular. Tucker likes to lie in the tunnel while battling my hands. Renn enjoys rushing through the tunnel and Josie’s favourite activity in it is, well, not an activity; she just lies there. But I think she has fun doing that. Cammie was never a tunnel-cat, though she has used it to sneak up on the others. She may yet again.

The fact is that the nylon tunnel gives the beasts another toy with which to play, and another space in which to lie. Yes, it takes up room, and I am continually stepping over it, but it is light and cheap; it requires no maintenance, and it is harmless. So I suppose it has its own efficiency.

As for the old nylon tunnel, it has, I believe, gone on to provide fun for other felines. In our town, we have ‘big item pick-up’, by which a call to the municipal Waste Management Department (garbage men) may arrange the disposal of large articles that don’t fit or are not allowed in regular trash collections. In preparation for this, I set several items, including the red-and-grey nylon tunnel, behind my house before I moved. But before I could even call for them to be picked up, they disappeared. Among them was the old nylon tunnel. As well, the first cat-tree I possessed vanished. It was Tungsten’s; a simple scratching post with a platform on top. It was becoming very ragged and, with an aging population of pets, I thought a cat-tree without steps was less desirable than others.

This sort of informal recycling goes on a great deal here. I don’t know if it is the case in other towns, but anything placed in the alleys is fair game, and everyone is glad to have it provide some extra use. I like to think that other cats, who may not otherwise have had a nylon tunnel or a cat-tree, are now using my old ones; there is still plenty of wear left in them.

And so my four beasts find themselves in the completed home, with nothing more to be provided. Then again, I find myself wondering what else I can add. Efficiently, of course.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Something New on the Menu

There is rather important news in the household. For as long as she has been under my care, before and after she became a part of the family, Cammie’s sole type of soft-food has been Fancy Feast. In particular, the ocean whitefish variety. She has eaten other flavours but prefers this one, and has never cared for any other brand, turning up her tiny nose at each offering. Fancy Feast is good, but I have continued to try to interest her in other kinds of soft food, always unsuccessfully.

Then two days ago, I put a dish of Merrick turkey before her. I expected the usual non-reaction. Instead, she sniffed it, nibbled some and then ate the whole portion. I gave her more, and then more. The princess consumed three portions all together. They were not large, but constituted about the same amount as she would have eaten had it been Fancy Feast. In fact, she ate as much as she would have on a day when she was rather hungry.

I thought this most strange, and so I repeated the process the next morning, and she repeated her performance. That tin of Merrick turkey was finished, so yesterday evening, I opened up the next tin. It was beef. I didn’t think that would do as well, nor did it. Cammie’s reaction was one of disappointment. However, turkey will be next on the menu after beef. Then we will see if the first incident was unique. If not, it will be on to chicken, and surf ’n’ turf, and any other flavour the princess may like. With luck, this turn of events will become routine.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The First Weekend

Well, it was not really my first weekend in the new apartment, but in some ways it felt as if it was. Though the possession date for the purchaser taking over the house was January 15th, a week ago last Friday, my fraction of the price, and the papers documenting the sale, and completing it, in my mind, did not come to me until this past Monday. This most recent weekend, therefore, was the first during which I felt that my connection with the house was finally over, and the apartment was my home.

So how is it feeling, this new residence of ours? It is smaller than the house, of course, so I have to be a bit more thoughtful regarding storage space. To be honest, I think it doesn’t have much less storage space than the house. I noticed that when a house’s basement is developed and finished, it becomes living space, rather than storage space. There was storage under the stairs and in the furnace room - which, by the way, is mostly taken up by furnace. Everything that I intended to keep has been kept and packed away with a bit more rationality than it was. I was not able to retain one bulky cat-tree, though it has gone into storage with the rescue-group of which I am part. I am glad that I kept the ‘cylinder-house’ cat-tree, as that has become Renn’s favourite spot in the apartment. It is not meant for putting by a window, so placing it in the corridor doesn’t make it less useful.

The apartment is, on average, warmer than the house. I think that has to do with less space needing heat, but also with the fact that there are other heated flats piled around mine. The cats still use the heated beds, even so, but find other places in which to relax. Tucker seems able to collapse anywhere and enjoy it.

The beasts’ transition to the new home has been almost without noticeable stress. Cammie did become ill but has recovered fully. I don’t believe that had something to do with the surroundings. My princess is a sensitive creature but I would have thought she would be more affected by the actual move; a delayed reaction is not unreasonable, however.

In terms of location, the apartment is central in the city in which I live, but farther away from the lower-priced and discount grocery stores I use. It is also more distant from my veterinarian, but in any case, I would ride in an automobile to the cats’ appointments regardless, so that makes little practical difference. Josie’s surgery was unaffected by our new location. My Chubs bounced back very well from that ordeal and, though she is still taking the last of her pills, seems largely unfazed by it, especially now that she is able to eat her hard-food again. The Great White is once more in fine, if rotund, form.

I am pleased with the new abode. There are disadvantages (I would prefer an upper, rather than ground, floor; an upper floor is, I feel, more secure, and suffers less from dust and dirt in the spring and summer), but these are out-weighed by the benefits. It costs less than my house did. Even were I to lose my job and have to survive on unemployment payments (roughly reckoned to be about 55% of one’s previous wage), I would be able to squeeze by - barely, but definitely. I like that my library, albeit small and constricted, is on the main (only) floor of my home. That is convenient for me.

The utilities are included in the rent, which is low, relative to other apartments’, so I need not worry about leaving a light on, or raising the temperature. And of course, this particular apartment building allows cats at no extra charge, which cannot be said for any other rental property I considered before my move. I am not the only tenant with cats, nor even the only tenant with four cats.

I was lucky, both to sell my house in a period of economic descent, and in finding the new apartment. It feels like home to me, a cosy refuge for me and the cats. This first weekend saw the foundation of new routines. I look forward to many more satisfying days in our new home.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Of Determination and Routines

Josie’s recovery continues well - too well, in one respect. I’ll tell you about that in a moment. After my complaints of yesterday about my Chubs refusing the food into which I had crushed her medicinal pills, some readers rightly suggested that I should have asked for liquid anti-biotic. Very true. Tucker too needs a dental procedure. His mouth is not terrible but it is worse than Josie’s was. Any surgery for the roly poly was delayed until his diabetes was stabilized. It is, so his dental will probably be scheduled for late February or March. I will be demanding a liquid medicine for him.

In the meantime, Josie is eating soft-food only. But she is suspicious of it, as it quite clearly smelled of veterinary trickery to her. I have stopped crushing up the pill in her food. As put forward by Flynn’s mum and dad, I have begun dissolving the pill in a very small amount of water, and injecting it into her mouth. I crush the pill and set its remains in the water overnight (for the morning dosage) and through the day (for the later application) so that it is as dissolved as possible. It is a bit of a struggle to give the Great White her medicine, especially as I am conscious of the tenderness of her mouth, but everything went in this morning, which is probably an improvement over the incomplete consumption when hidden in food that is not all eaten.

But Josie likes having the hard-food available for when she is peckish, and I am sure she is hungry much of the time. She can’t have any hard-food until Saturday, though she thinks otherwise. The other cats still get the hard-food when I think Josie is sleeping or too comfortable to try to steal some, so a bowl of it is kept on top of the refrigerator. Last evening, I was reading in the sitting room and heard a ruckus in the kitchen. Josie had leaped up on to the top of fridge, via the counter, which is three and a half, maybe four, feet high, and in turn two and a half or three feet below the top of the refrigerator. She was determined to have some hard-food, which her little but powerful nose obviously had smelled. She saw that I was just as determined to stop her, so she leaped still farther up, onto the top of the cabinets. I seized her, only to have her latch onto the edges of the cabinetry where it joined the wall. I managed to pry her from there and set her on the floor.

The poor cat. She doesn’t know why she is being starved. And she is receiving plenty of food. It’s just not to her liking. Because I cannot leave the hard-food down on the floor for any who want it - not until Saturday; another reason to long for the weekend - I have been coming home during my lunch-break (not as long a trip as it was when I lived in the house) and giving the beasts an extra soft-food meal. The last time I would come home early was when I would prepare the house for a viewing. I wonder if the cats think I’m selling their home from under them again…

Josie and the others are coping very well, all things considered. If they are not eating as much as they normally do, or as much as I would like, they are eating nevertheless, and come Saturday, routines will be re-established. By then, my Chubs may be just a little bit less chubby.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Josie, the Day After

Josie’s surgery was a success, the worrisome lump on her jaw was no more than a cyst, and her mouth is now on the mend. She was brought home about 4.30 yesterday afternoon and was pawing at the carrier door to be let out as soon as she realised she was home; she rushed straight for the food-bowl.

My Chubs couldn’t have the hard-food, though, so she had to wait until I served some softer nutrition. She sucked back a portion, so I gave her a bit more. I didn’t want to give her too much, as she may have been still feeling the effects of the anaesthetic. However, after about forty-five minutes, she was apparently feeling nothing worse than further hunger, so I gave her some more. I continued to give her soft-food in small amounts every hour or so until bed-time.

I ran into a problem when trying to give her the anti-biotic, Clavaseptin, that she was required to take. I’m sure that anyone with a cat knows the sort of pill I mean: the sort that the veterinarian asserts may be easily introduced into the animal’s food and eaten without knowledge that it is even there. In fact, it has a taste cats find pleasant!

Who are the cats on whom they test these pills? Have they no taste buds? No noses?

As soon as I brought it to her, Josie recoiled from the food in which I had crushed up the pill. Later, I tried hiding a whole pill, thinking the fragmentation of the pill released a great smell. Both times, Josie refused to come near the food, though she was clearly famished. I had to resort to crushing up some Temptation Treats and including them in her meal. This had the desired effect, though it took constant encouragement on my part to achieve an empty dish. Fortunately, the pills need be given only twice a day. At other times, my Chubs is eager enough to eat.

She also needs to receive two doses of Metacam pain-killer, though this is delivered by syringe directly into her mouth, once this morning and again tomorrow. I was able to accomplish this with little trouble, though I had to be careful of her sore mouth.

The principal symptom of Josie’s return was a restlessness. She wouldn’t stay put for long last night, though this may have been accentuated by hunger. This morning when I left for work, she was lying comfortably on the heated towels in the library, and purred loudly when I spent a few minutes petting her. She may have been in pain earlier, and the Metacam later took effect.

Though it may not be seen well from the photographs (I didn't want to show it too much), the cut made to remove the cyst is rather large and ugly. Much of her face’s right side had to be shaved, making her head look even smaller than it does ordinarily. Her head must be the size of a walnut under the fur. Otherwise, she looks good.

I will call the doctor shortly and find out when Josie may eat hard-food. I can’t have a bowl of it out while I am not there, of course, and even when I am, the newly-discharged patient tries everything to get to it. Meanwhile, the other beasts go without; when I put the bowl out for them, they find the glare of a large-bodied, tiny-headed cat with a scar on her face somewhat intimidating.

Like the disruption during the move to the new apartment, however, this extraordinary situation will pass soon, and things will return to normal. Already last night, she slept at least some hours on the bed, as she usually does.

I want to thank everyone who expressed concern about the Great White, and satisfaction at the successful outcome of her ordeal. It added tremendously to the good feelings resulting from her renewed health.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


It is not yet noon, and Josie is already out of surgery. The veterinarian called me to report that all went well. The lump has been removed from Josie’s jaw and won’t need to be sent for analysis, after all. The doctor cut into it once it was taken out and it was clearly a cyst. As for my Chubs’s teeth, two ‘pre-molars’ were removed but otherwise she is fine. Not bad for a twelve year old. I will bring her home later today once I finish work.

I have no new pictures of the Great White but I like this hitherto unpublished one from the old house (during the move, in fact). Maybe Josie will feel good enough now to allow the boys to get this close to her again.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cammie Uses the Computer

Firstly, I want to thank everyone for their wishes for the success of Josie's surgery tomorrow. I will keep readers apprised of developments.

In the meantime, the beasts and I are still getting used to the new apartment, though we have settled in very well. One of the aspects of a new home for a cat-owner is to provide as many benefits for his furry friends as possible. To me, this means giving them much external entertainment and many internal comforts.

In terms of the latter, there are of course the cat-trees and cat-beds placed about the new home. The animals certainly take advantage of the human furniture, too. But there are unexpected spots which they may find enjoyable.

In the house, my computer was on a small round table in the parlour. I had a desk which was designed for a computer, but it was kept in the basement library, and was used for writing in the heat of the summer. I did not have the space for it in the parlour, though it was more convenient and attractive than the round table. The latter was sold before the move, and the desk has been given its rightful place as a repository for my computer.

The desk has a tall space on its right for the bulk of a vertical computer. Mine, however, is cubic and does not fit there. It instead rests satisfactorily to the right of the monitor, and the space meant for a computer is empty.

Or it was. In my quest to give the cats as many places as possible in which to snooze, I put a folded towel in the spot and waited. First, Josie explored the recess, but did not stay. Cammie thought it adequate for her size, though, and curled up there. She has done this just once so far, but she knows the space is there whenever she likes, another little zone in which to retreat from the stresses of the world - such as the other cats, or not being comfortable enough elsewhere. Whatever the reason, I was happy to see the princess use the spot; I think she may know how better to utilize computers than I do…

Friday, January 15, 2016

Josie Will Go Under the Knife

I have made an appointment at the veterinary hospital for Josie. She goes for a double purpose next Tuesday.

Firstly, she will have a dental procedure. Her teeth do not seem very bad, though she has some gingivitis and her breath is a little smelly. She hasn’t had dental attention recently; her health has always been good. But it is time for her mouth to be seen to, and for bad teeth, should there be any, to be dealt with.

While there, she will have the lump on the side of her jaw removed, and sent away for analysis. I noticed this lump late last year and had my Chubs examined by a doctor, but the results were indeterminate. The lump does not feel as if it is attached to her jaw; then again, it seems bigger than it was just a couple of weeks ago, though this may be my imagination.

In any case, the Great White goes under the knife next week. It will be a single-day procedure; I will deliver Josie to the hospital about eight o’clock and should be able to retrieve her at four, that afternoon. Then we will await the results of the examination of the mysterious lump.

That object may be nothing more than a cyst, and my hope is that my tiny-headed fatty will be curled up again soon, untroubled and well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Life Spent Guessing

Things are going well in the little flat I’ve rented for myself and the cats. This week, the house will actually be sold (as in, money changing hands) barring any problems, and that chapter of our lives will be over. In the meantime, the animals and I are enjoying our new home.

I’ve noticed my furry friends have been finding spots about the apartment for themselves. Cammie, for instance, doesn’t come out to the sitting room much. She will come in, look about as if to note that yes, the other cats are still here - blast them - then go back to the bedroom or library. But she didn’t go into the house’s sitting room much, either. Renn got up on one of the armchairs last night - a favourite spot in the house was the sitting room’s armchair - found that it was not the same furniture to which he was accustomed but settled down anyway. Josie has taken up familiar places at the top of the tallest cat-tree and in a heated cat-bed.

As for Tucker… The roly-poly has rediscovered the hammock, warmed himself in the heated cat-beds and enjoyed the softness of the comforter on my bed. And he spent some time in the corner…

At first, I could not find him. It alarms me when I cannot find a cat. I worry that an escape has been made. Then I saw Tucker in the corner of the alcove where the shoes are kept. I thought that he may have wet somewhere and was embarrassed. He has not wet where he shouldn’t in months. I could find no evidence of this misdemeanour. I believe the truth is that he discovered the mat on which I keep the footwear, thought the texture interesting and decided to lie a moment there. Looking concerned and contrite. A minute later, he was here.

Were I to write a book about my experiences with cats, I may call it A Life Spent Guessing…

Monday, January 11, 2016

What Do You See?

When Tungsten first came to live with me, we got in the habit of looking out windows together. I would hold her and ask, “What do you see?” That came to mean ‘look out the window’, as much as a literal question. Each of my cats hears the same inquiry now, usually while they are at a window, peering out.

The views available to them have changed. During the time that I have had cats, I have lived in three different residences. My current address has the most restricted prospects; even the previous apartment in which we lived was on the fourth floor, and so the vistas available were greater.

But the cats are making do, as they will. There are neighbours across the alley, and crows that haunt the roof of the house near by. I intend to attract more birds for the cats’ entertainment, either by erecting a bird-feeder or simply tossing seed on to the ground in front of my windows, as another tenant in the building does.

I am afraid that the beasts will miss the greater opportunities afforded by the windows of the house. Tucker would lie on one of the tallest cat-tree’s platforms at dusk and watch the tail-lights of automobiles driving past, and all the cats liked seeing the neighbourhood dogs being walked down the street. Times change, however, and so does one’s outlook.

The beasts have settled into the new residence much better than I had anticipated. Cammie surprises me by now and then running through the rooms just for fun, as she did in the house, and even my big boy barrels about, often ending by jumping onto the bed and from there to a window-side cat-tree. Josie is finding new comfort on the dining table chairs - and sometimes the dining table - while Tucker fights with the toys scattered about and is his usual silly self.

I am grateful that they have been untroubled by the move. Perhaps, then, when I ask myself the question, “What do you see?”, the answer ‘contented cats’ is what I hope may be given.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Renn Finds Something New in Something Old

The cat-tree topped with the cylinder was downstairs in the house. I brought it to the apartment but was not sure that I would keep it, as space would be limited in the new home. Other than my temporary foster-cat, Noah, only Cammie used the cylinder-house. She liked to resort to it when she wanted to be away from the others, especially if she was under the weather. None of the other cats frequented the basement except to use the litter-boxes, so the princess could retreat to solitude there.

Now, there is no basement, and Cammie has already found the isolation of the area beneath the bed to be comforting. The cylinder-house, therefore, I thought would be unused. I was wrong.

Never having so much as scratched at this cat-tree previously, Renn has developed a swift and deep fondness for it. I can’t imagine that the interior of the cylinder is comfortable for any cat, never mind one the size of my big boy. And yet he can be found there quite often now. Consequently, I am loathe to remove this new-found haunt, especially since, in the apartment, there are fewer places for the cats to enjoy.

The cylinder-house is in the short corridor, next to the bookcase that faces the front door. It is certainly not in the way, but neither is it an attractive piece of decor to be seen as soon as one enters. However, I am not one to cater to mere humans who come to visit, even though they may be my friends, or even to the human who lives in the apartment and pays the bills…

So the cylinder-house will remain, to give Renn a place in which he can contemplate his now-smaller though still interesting world. It will provide my scientist a novel venue, a different perspective, something which will allow further fuel to fire his active imagination.

And it’s a neat place for him to snooze, too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Familiarity Breeds Comfort

You may recall a very recent post I published in which my cat Josie stubbornly refused to acknowledge the removal of the heated cat-beds from their places in our old house prior to our move. She enjoys lying curled up in those soft, constricted spaces, though how she twists her bulk to fit, I don’t know.

For the first couple of days in the new apartment, the cat-beds were still in their boxes. There was disorder, objects were in the way and I wasn’t sure of where I was going to place anything. The cats at first had to make do with human furniture. Then, at least, the cat-trees were put up, so that the beasts could view their surroundings.

Then, the cat-beds appeared. As soon as I put one on the floor by the base of the tallest cat-tree, in which Josie was reposing, my Chubs made her way down to determine if these were still the same beloved beds from the house. She tested one, and found it an old friend.

It was a little out of the way, however, and Josie would be unseen. So she tried the other one. Gone were the boxes which provided their foundations. Not only was the floor no longer sometimes-chilly wood or linoleum, but a layer of carpeting provided soft insulation. This was just right.

I think the relatively quick application of familiarity helped create a smooth transition from the former environment. First, there was the novelty of the surroundings, some excitement over the new smells, and the new prospects from the windows. But then couches and chairs, books and cabinets were found that provided well-known scents and sights. The shape and number of the rooms may have changed, the sounds were different and the air was definitely filled with new fragrances, but this was clearly home. And in this I was fortunate, because my Chubs’s patience with disruption doesn’t last for long.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Another Battle Won

Over the weekend, Cammie was ill. My princess seems to feel under the weather often compared to other cats. It is not always a serious affliction but this time, it struck me as more worrisome than others. She threw up two or three times a day, usually in the early morning. It did not always depend upon when she ate, and indeed she stopped eating, refusing even to have an interest in food.

At first, I thought the matter was caused by a hairball, so I applied some hairball-remedy. This was not fun for either Cammie or myself, as I had to force the substance into her by syringe. This was the beginning of a number of similar feedings over the weekend. Continued vomiting suggested that a hairball was not the cause of my cat’s problem.

A consequent concern was a lack of nutrition in Cammie’s system. After several days, the absence of sustenance can cause irreversible damage to a cat’s internal organs, so it was essential that she eat, sooner than it would be for a human. I had a tin of Recovery, a soft food designed to restore nutrition to a cat’s body after - or during - an illness, but of course the difficulty remained of keeping that food - any food - in her body, when the very symptom that was causing my alarm was her vomiting.

Enter slippery elm. Suggested by a friend in the Lethbridge PAW Society, this natural substance, which may be purchased in a powder, settles a cat’s stomach. I mixed some with water, heated to a simmer in a pot on the stove, let it cool and then put that into Cammie by syringe. This was followed five minutes later by a similarly syringe-fed Recovery/water mixture.

My princess of course hated the ordeal. More of the syrupy elm ended on the bathroom floor and walls than in Cammie, but by expending ten or eleven cubic centimetres, I was able to put five or six into my cat. I also managed to have her eat enough Recovery to keep her going - if it stayed in her body.

It did. Two doses of the slippery elm, and two accompanying doses of food, seemed to tip the balance in Cammie’s favour. She stopped throwing up and Sunday night ate a little bit of soft food of her own volition. I could tell by other elements of her behaviour that she was feeling somewhat better. She stopped hiding under the bed - which seems to be her new spot for when she wishes to be alone - or lying on the heated towels in the library.

I woke yesterday morning to see Cammie’s silhouette on her cat-tree in the bedroom; another good sign. She ate more food on her own for breakfast - indeed seemed eager for some - and for dinner. Last evening, she came out to the sitting room for the first time in days, and sought me out for some attention, and was happy to spend some purring time on my chest. I think the worst is behind her, but she needs rest and food to recover completely.

Once she started eating on her own again, I ceased force-feeding her, as I did not want to put her off her slowly increasing desire to feed herself. Anything that would cause her annoyance or discomfort had to be avoiding. Fortunately, she was on the ascendant again.

I don’t know what the illness was, really. I am sure that the slippery elm was instrumental in defeating it, as it allowed Cammie to keep food down. But her body’s refusal to retain sustenance was surely a symptom, so merely being able to eat again probably did not defeat the problem in itself, though it undoubtedly gave her strength to do so. Yet the fact remains that once she kept food in her stomach, she improved.

I am not complacent. I could return home today and find her relapsed, though I think this unlikely. I will keep my eye on the little Siamese, watchful especially as this malady, whatever it was, came on suddenly; it may return with just as much warning. Another crisis appears to have been defeated, which is good, because both Cammie and I could use a rest.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Welcome Home

The unpacking is done, furniture is arranged, books are put away and pictures are hung. I can now introduce you to the new abode.

I find it a cosy place, small, certainly, but with almost enough room for me and the cats. I know they would like more space, and indeed, I require a bit more myself - enough for one more bookcase, to be exact. However, that is a thing of not much consequence, and I am pleased with the transition, so far. Come with me, won’t you, on a short tour?

We’ll start in the sitting room. And yes, the pictures are not quite centred on that far wall, and no, I’m not going to re-hang them.

You may note the rugs on the fitted carpets. Redundant, you say? Not if you have cats. Cammie has been feeling poorly and has thrown up a few times. Josie, with her sensitive stomach, has emptied her belly on the floor once and Tucker…that roly poly...didn’t finish his pooping after leaving the litter-box one time and wiped his bum on the floor. Fortunately, all of this was done on the inexpensive, easily cleaned and ultimately disposable rugs.

Continuing clockwise through the apartment, we come to the kitchen. It is little - tiny, actually - but for someone who, though he cooks, does not make big productions of it, the dimensions are quite adequate.

The dining area has a spare rug for the moment. Josie thought to add her scent to the rolled rug, was a bit too vigorous, rubbed against it, and tipped it over. It fell and knocked the clock off the wall. The clock hit the table, the battery flew out and landed in the kitchen sink. The clock continues to tick. So does Josie.

The storeroom (with litter-boxes) and bathroom may be imagined. And so into the bedroom. Quite bright and relatively spacious, it contains a couple of cat-trees and, in one picture, a couple of cats. It also houses my memorials to those who have gone before.

The library is cramped, to say the least. The little couch and its accompanying ottoman were such good furniture, however, that I didn’t want to part with them. This is where our Saturday night movie is watched. To save space, the television set is kept in the closet, the door of which is opened for weekend viewing.

And thus you are familiar with the new residence. The cats seem, to my surprise, to have settled in very quickly. They were largely untroubled by the changes, the actual move itself being the biggest bump in the otherwise smooth journey of their lives. That was of course my greatest worry.

Giving up the house is a bit of a wrench. One never likes to surrender an ambition but, with financial concerns as they are, the new arrangement is not only more practical but gives me peace of mind. That peace of mind is contained in a smaller location now but that doesn't matter much. What matters is that I and the beasts are together, we are safe, and we are home.